Roland Magunia

Unconventional Interview with Professor Gregor Hopf

As part of our series of unconventional interviews with our professors and alumni where we present them in a different light, we today had the chance to speak to professor Gregor Hopf. Enjoy reading!

1. What was the best decision in your career?
Oh dear. Not sure, but the most decisive was certainly in 1999 when I swapped a very well paid, high-powered job in my dream-come-true industry and a lovely 160 sq-meter apartment for a tiny dorm-room that came with shared hygienic facilities - and the chance to study for a doctorate degree at the London School of Economics.

2. If you could meet a famous person, who would it be and why?
Honestly, famous people often are not so interesting. My non-academic career gave me the opportunity to meet and work with quite a few more or less famous people. I would rather like to meet inspiring people and some of the most inspiring people I have met are not famous at all. Very often it is the people in the second row that are the most interesting to meet. And in my current role, seriously, the most inspiring people are students willing to embrace their future with all they have got, notwithstanding all the uncertainties along the way.

3. What profession did your parents imagine for you?
My father is still convinced that I would have become an excellent lawyer and possibly he is right. But no.

4. If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
Seriously? Not that question! A human. Because I quite like it. Ok, if you insist: a turtle, an elephant, a lion, a dragon, the fly on the wall at important historic events (but with at least a decent/human brain to understand what is going on).

5. The funniest joke you know?
Can’t remember jokes, but for some reason I do remember Udo Lindenberg’s witty and very fitting saying: “Alle Tage sind gleich lang, aber nicht gleich breit!”. Works as a toast at a dinner party but you might be surprised, there is more to this than meets the eye: I always have to think of this saying when I get into work and there doesn’t seem to be enough minutes in the hour. Then I realise, I need to think of this differently and simply broaden my view. Not sure whether Udo thought of it this way. But it works (without alcohol).

6. Do you have a favorite place?
Nothing out of the ordinary: give me a secluded beach, a good bottle of local red wine or two, an excellent book or even better some friends to discuss the world and anything beyond, add a slight cosy breeze and a beautiful house with a pool fit for swimming, the whole scene drenched in sunlight, … You get the picture.
Probably, the last months' weather in Hamburg might have something to do with that vision…

7. If you were to publish a book about your life, what title would it have?
“Hätte – Zählt nicht” - A number of subtitles come to mind. But, we need to get to know each other much better, before I can tell you those. :-)

8. Who is your childhood hero?
Dieter Thurau, Peter Thaler, Hansi Müller, Sepp Maier, Alexander Pusch, Old Shatterhand, Hasi, but next to my parents and my older brother, probably a nurse, whose name I am ashamed to say I can’t recall, but she showed me how I could get through an unbearable and very serious situation, which would have been absolutely incomprehensible for a young child without that help. Thanks again!

9. Your secret business idea?
Daring question but think about it, if you really expected an answer…. But what I can share, is the upcoming Digital Transformation Card Game. It’s not necessarily a business idea, but an innovative way of learning about Digital Transformation. Watch the HSBA social media universe for more information soon!

10. Which three goals do you have for your future?        
As always: find my next challenge! And since this is a university: help my students' find theirs.

Do you want to find out more about Gregor Hopf - then go and visit his very interactive website. Thank you for the interesting interview and your time, professor Hopf!

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